By Brent Furdyk.

Kazuki Takahashi, who created the popular manga “Yu-Gi-Oh”, tragically died in July at age 60 when his body was discovered floating off the coast of Naga City in Okinawa, Japan.

A report subsequently discovered that the popular manga artist died while trying to help a U.S. Army officer rescue three people caught in a riptide at a popular diving spot, Mermaid’s Grotto.

Speaking with Stars and Stripes, Maj. Robert Bourgeau — a scuba diving instructor — explained that he was teaching some students when he spotted a Japanese mother calling for help for her 11-year-old daughter and a U.S. soldier, who were caught in a whirlpool about 100 yards from shore.

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“I grabbed mom and I grabbed [the girl] and I just kicked for all life,” Bourgeau recalled, noting that the solider also made it back to shore.

Unbeknownst to Bourgeau, Takahashi also sprang into action to try to help the woman and her daughter, but wound up becoming trapped in the whirlpool himself. While Bourgeau never saw Takahashi get into the water, his students confirmed they saw glimpses of him trying to help before vanishing beneath the waves.

“He’s a hero,” Bourgeau said of Takahashi. “He died trying to save someone else.”

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Ellen Bullock